HomeU21'sU21's NewsSEASON OPENER: U21s See Off Young Coasters

SEASON OPENER: U21s See Off Young Coasters

The Chorley Development Squad opened their 2017-18 Galaxy Lancashire West season with a valuable 2-1 home win against AFC Fylde. 

The youngsters, who lifted the league title last season were given a tough game by their runners up, but goals by Pratt and Likoy-Elumba either side of a Jones equaliser saw the Magpies chalk up three points on the opening night.

 

It was the visitors who came out of the dressing room the stronger and plied pressure in the Chorley box, but a strong defence stood resolute in front of Whittingham’s goal and prevented Fylde from scoring an early opener.

On sixteen minutes Fylde sent a shot across goal but there was nobody in the box to capitalise and find the net.  Three minutes later Chorley found themselves on the wrong end of a Fylde free kick just inside the home team’s half.  The ball was sent goalward but Whittingham made an easy catch.

On twenty minutes Chorley won a free kick from 30 yards out.  Likoy-Elumba, featuring for the Development Squad for the first time had a powerful shot but the ball was deflected out for a corner.

Two minutes later the deadlock was broken when the effective Harry Pratt unleashed a lovely right footed shot which evaded the diving keeper and planted the ball neatly in the left hand corner of the net.

The visitors’ heads stayed firmly up and soon won a free kick in front of the home dugout.  A strong shot was arrowed towards a sea of orange shirts and Lightfoot kicked the ball away from danger.  A couple of minutes after, Connor Smith showed great trickery as he evaded one Fylde player then another as he prevented them from gaining advantage towards the Chorley goal.

With half an hour on the clock, Pratt very nearly doubled his tally by rifling a shot directly at the keeper.  Every credit to the man in green for making a great save.  A couple of minutes later, Whittingham made a stop with his feet but couldn’t get enough reach to gather up the ball. Luckily Lenehan was at hand to defend and kicked the ball away to safety.

On thirty four minutes, Pratt – ever the danger man – tried to lost his marksman, but the defender appeared to be blocking him.  The referee allowed play to continue, much to the derision of the Chorley supporters in the main stand.

Just a minute later Fylde made the score even.  An uncharacteristic mix up at the back left Whittingham stranded and up stepped Brad Jones for an easy tap in to make it 1-1.

Before the break, Likoy-Elumba appeared to be tripped in the box after a strong solo run, but the referee adjudged it to be just outside and awarded a free kick. The midfielder took the set piece, but this was too powerful and sailed out for a goal kick.  In the last action of the first half the home side won another free kick forty yards from goal. Likoy-Elumba sent the ball in and found Pratt who turned in the box but scuffed his shot wide of the mark.

It was Pratt who made the early pressure in the second half running directly at the Fylde keeper, but the effective shot stopper made a good save once again.  In an early substitution, Gaskell made way for Naeem, who made an early impression.  He made a lovely lay off to Hinds, however he couldn’t find a path through the Fylde defenders to score.

Likoy-Eluma then went on one of his powerful runs upfield to the right hand side of the goal, however he was immediately surrounded and had no room to release the ball.

On sixty seven minutes it was Connor Smith who nearly scored for Chorley but once again the keeper made a quick reaction save to keep the scores level.

On came Tucker, in place of captain Farnworth and very quickly made a nuisance of himself.  On seventy three minutes he shot across goal but there was nobody there to meet the incoming ball.  Two minutes later he almost capitalised on a mix up between a Fylde defender and the keeper following a short back pass but the keeper nabbed the ball.

As the clock ticked down, both sides stepped up a gear, searching for a winner.  Once again Tucker was in the midst of the action five minutes from time, but couldn’t quite find the angle to net the ball.  Likoy-Elumba had a point blank shot at the keeper, however he kept Fylde in the game once again.

With two minutes to go, Fylde won a free kick just inside their own half as a player was tumbled, however the shot was sent well wide and out for a goal kick.

In the last minute of the game, Likoy-Elumba went on an amazing solo run along the entire length of the Fylde half, rounded the keeper and planted the ball in order to ensure that the 2017-18 season started with an important win.

Speaking after the game, manager Dave Chadwick described the game as a tough start to the season against a young, fit and hungry Fylde side who were on top for the first twenty minutes but that the young Magpies dominated the second half.  He praised the last minute winner, but was hoping that the lads would have made the score safer, sooner.  He was quick to praise Likoy-Elumba’s goal, but was pleased to see strong performances across the pitch.  However he admitted ‘… we didn’t play enough football for my liking.  But more will come, and we’ll play a bit prettier and a bit more direct.’

Looking at the season ahead, he admits he’d love the lads to win the league again, adding there is the Cup to be taken as well.  ‘We want to win everything but it’s also important to push these lads to the first team and I’m hoping they’ll get the opportunity to do it.’

Team  Whittingham, E Darr, Gaskell, Lenehan, Lightfoot, Evans, Farnworth (capt), Smith, Pratt, Likoy-Elumba, Hinds

Subs  Njuethe, Naeem, Darcy, Cotter, Tucker

Goals CHORLEY: Pratt (22) Likoy-Elumba (90)    AFC FYLDE  Jones (25)

chorleyfc.com Man of the Match:  Harry Pratt – strong, effective and a dangerman in front of goal                             

 

 

 

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